To take advantage of InDesign’s drag & drop features, you first have to turn it on. You can do this by visiting InDesign’s preferences by navigating to InDesign>Preferences>Type, or hitting Command + K and selecting the Type item in the source list on the left of the prefs window. About half-way down in the Type prefs window you’ll see the Drag & Drop Text Editing section. Check the Enable in Layout View box.
Now that the feature is turned on, you can select any text in an InDesign text frame, then click, hold and drag the highlighted text. Releasing the mouse button drops the text into place. That alone can be a real time saver when you’re editing text. But the fun is just starting…
To make drag & drop text editing more useful, you can add a few modifier keys to the mix. For instance, you can remove text from one frame and drop it into a brand new frame by highlighting your text and holding the Command key down while dragging the text. You’ll notice the cursor changes into a T inside a text frame. When you drop the text, it’s removed from the original located and ends up in a brand new frame.
Now let’s say you want to do the same thing, but don’t want to remove the text from the original location; essentially performing a copy & paste routine. Repeat the Command drag as stated above, but add the Option key to copy the text into a new frame.
Of course, you can just hold down the Option key while dragging to copy and paste the highlighted text into an existing text frame. And if you happen to be dragging some bold text from one area and want to drop it into a paragraph of non-bold italics text, simply hold down Option + Shift while dragging the text. The dropped text will take on the formatting of the text around where you drop it – in this case, non-bold italics.